Sam Dennison asked me one day if I was sick & tired of the intractable status quo too. In response, we started A Tenderloin Think Tank – made up equally of community leaders like himself & Tenderloin (TL) residents like me who are willing to take a careful, thoughtful approach to the neighborhood’s (thus city’s) issues. We’re not simply looking for solutions but new ways to think about the underlying problems. Much like Western medicine, it’s time to stop treating the symptoms alone.
We’ve fostered a group of out-of-the-box thinkers with a heart for the TL who know they can’t keep using the same approaches. The Tenderloin’s status quo differs from most neighborhood’s in the city. The need to break away from that status quo keeps the Think Tank committed to seeing where careful, collaborative, creative thinking can take us. Our society is solution-based & this ‘hood we care so deeply about all too often gets ‘solutions’ handed to it &/or “suggested” to its residents. Our proactive approach is helping to change that cycle.
As we envision the community we want & deserve, we’ve also tried to understand the thinking that created the problems so we can think along new lines. Different options are possible through a proactive & persistent thought process. Equally important, we should know how to respond when the next problems arise. We will continue this journey together of creating new ways of thinking about the neighborhood and its concerns thus changing our approach to problem-solving – the more collaborative our thinking, the better.
We try to incorporate our fellow out-of-the-box thinkers who have a heart for the TL & an impact on it in some way, be it via government or an NGO or as a resident. The involvement of these equally invested sides in the exchange of ideas is crucial to our goal of opening up new thinking. Those who may otherwise be on opposite sides can tackle issues proactively rather than wait to have them brought to the residents once the decisions have already been made. By coming together, we’re uniting multiple perspectives into a greater good.
This is exactly why it’s so important to do what we’ve taken on at A(nother) Tenderloin Think Tank; through our exploration & friendly debate of a subject, we discover the similarities rather than just the differences. That’s but one of the ways we’re able to think so differently about issues. As we learn about the issues that impact the streets around us, we’re learning about our neighbors. Seeing things from their viewpoint, housed or not, is another way we start to think anew. It’s never too late to join in so add your thoughts to the mix & help us find unique perspectives on age old questions.